Covid still darkened our door, pushing spring off, again, for a few weeks making our official opening June 14. Most of the 10 parties pushed off managed to rebook for later. Thankfully, we found ourselves quite busy, painting, raking and renovating, even able to serve a few dinners, delivery to the cottages only. The thought of plexiglass panels, rigorous and constant sanitizing and being able to use only 2 or 3 tables in the dining room, made the decision not to open for dine in service, easy. It was indeed strange and difficult to not see everyone in the dining room, sharing stories of fun and adventures while enjoying a great Outpost dinner!! Lots of stories were still shared during evening gatherings on the front deck of the Lodge while enjoying a campfire and the night sky. We are so hoping to open the dining room for 2022 but we will just have to wait and see what the winter and spring may bring. Over the last two years, Jim has come up with some interesting twists to the menu so we look forward to sharing them with you. We will definitely be making meals now that we have our power back on.
Yes, power back on. A tornado hit the Outpost on August 11, 2021. It started out to be a perfect, sunny, hot day. Our cottages were full with lots of families enjoying the days, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, peddleboating and fishing- a happy, busy time. Late afternoon brought some huge clouds, darkening sky and big winds. The rain began in earnest around 420pm and by 440, the power was out and many of our largest trees were broken, pulled out by their roots, leaning or laid down completely by this immense wall of water and wind. These magnificent, stately trees took almost the entire brunt of the storm. It was confirmed later to be an F1 tornado which had touched down on the west side of highway 129 and travelled 9 kilometers, hitting the Outpost directly. We are so thankful that no one was hurt, no vehicles were damaged and that there was no catastrophic damage to any buildings. Taking stock of the damage was so overwhelming- the entire power system was destroyed and we had no concept of how long it was going to take to repair. An electric company from the Soo arrived a day later with a generator for each cottage and the Lodge- a giant thanks to Ben, Dan, Tyler and everyone at DT Electric!! It was quite a feat to get them all hooked up!! They continued to supply our power until November 10- yes, three months of only generator supplied power.
Since we had no power or hot water, we had to cancel all meals for the rest of the season. Understandably, we had guests cancel their vacations as well. We were just heart broken and devastated. In the days after the storm, we struggled to contact our guests to inform them of the conditions at the Outpost. Being very busy working and getting ready for her vacation, an email message sent to Christine, due to come in to cottage #3, was not received! In checking in on her, we realized that she was planning to come, within the hour, not knowing about the storm! Because the power was just hooked up, enabling the water system to function, we could technically have guests. Jim decided that Christine and Cynthia would be the perfect people to have stay at that time, testing out systems for us!! The two sisters enjoyed clearing paths, making our grounds accessible again. This was such an important first step in the uphill battle, taking the pressure off us. Their self-motivation and positive spirit meant the world to us. Thanks so much Cynthia and Christine!
Here comes the restoration team! There was a constant stream of arborists, electricians, power pole drillers, carpenters, back hoe operators, hydro guys, insurance adjusters and inspectors. After the initial emergency hook-up, we knew we were in for a long haul considering the extent of the damage. They promised to have poles replaced and power on before winter, at least to our cottage and the Lodge and it was so!!
We are now looking forward to a very busy spring, putting the finishing touches on the cottages and especially the grounds before our first guests arrive on May 28. Jim’s thinking we should have brush moving parties complete with a campfire and hot dogs for any volunteer workers!! Our summer is filling in steadily but it’s complicated trying to get everyone into their favourite cottage in their favourite week! Give us a call to make sure that we can accommodate you.
MAY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS AND HAPPY MEMORIES SURROUND YOU WITH JOY THIS CHRISTMAS!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year From the Kehoe Family
Love to you all, Jim, Ann, Jamie, Sean and Isabella Bo too!!